Know Violin History Today

Know Violin History Today

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Know Violin History Today


Know Violin History Today



Musical instruments have existed in one form or another for many thousands of years. There were several stringed instruments made before violins, but some of them are so ancient that modern scholars hardly know anything about them, having only seen them depicted in artwork or written record. The violin, more or less as we know it today, has been with us since the beginning of the 16th century. Those with some knowledge of ancient instruments might remember the Medieval stringed instrument, the rebec, and the Renaissance fiddle. These were the likely inspirations for the very first violins.

The first modern violins started appearing in the 16th century, in Italy. They were stronger than any string instruments that had come before, which gave the new instrument a beautiful singing tone. The violins were still different from ones played today though. The entire violin was shorter and stouter and had gut strings.


Know The First Violin Makers

The violin has existed in its current form for long. The first Violin makers were Italians who were influenced by other ancient stringed instruments from around the world.

Some of the violin’s precursors date back several thousand years. The ravanstron, rebec, and Rabab are ancient stringed instruments that were used thousands of years ago. The rote and vielle are instruments that had been invented a long time back, but they looked somewhat similar to modern violins in that they fingerboards that containing strings which players could press to produce different tones. The vielle was probably the instrument most similar to the modern violin; different models had between two and five strings that could be plucked or bowed.


Know Andrea Amati who invented violin

The origin of the violin itself goes back to 16th century Italy The master instrument player was Andrea Amati in 1525 and he is the inventor. Later the Italians became prevalent during the 17th century During the 17th century, .

This is not the orginal violin you are seing today. Initially its neck was short, thick and not too curved. Violin”s strings were made of gut, the fingerboard was shorter, and the bridge was flatter. after being invented, it was not very popular among the people.

It was considered to be played by the lower class. Over time, the violin status became more interesting, and people begin to play, especially after a popular violinists played the violin in one of his operas. During the Baroque period, the violin popularity began to grow. Also, by the 17th century, it was mostly a necessity to be played in instrumental ensembles.


Although the first actual description of a violin dates back in 1556, there are some paintings from earlier in the century depicting what was often a three-stringed violin.

Andrea Amati, was given the job of developing the violin known today by the family of Medic. It is because of Amati’s origins working with lutes that violin artisans today are still referred to as luthiers. Amati, who emerged the best maker, was commissioned by the Medicis to provide a device that would be suitable for street musicians and yet still have a lute-like quality of sound. His design, incorporating four strings and a slightly vaulted body, became immediately popular. Because of its versatility with street musicians, it quickly became of interest to members of the nobility. Amati himself founded a dynasty of luthiers, and there are still fourteen of his violins known to be in existence today.

Violin Features

Violins are designed to withstand the test of time. They are small and hollow wooden instruments with a long neck and four lines of a string tuned the fifth pitch from each other, from low to high. While there are electric violins that have been built, they have not deviated from this basic design.

Typically made from spruce or maple, the violin’s fingerboard is manufactured from ebony or ivory. Strings in the past were made of gut, but today they are made from different materials, such as metal, nylon perlon, or synthetic core.

The violin has emerged as the forerunner of all musical instruments in Classical music since the Baroque era, and this has not happened by chance. The melodic nature of this instrument is perfect for playing the classical melody lines, and it is very adaptable especially when playing notes in a rapid manner. As well as this, for a Virtuoso, it becomes incredibly expressive which with the addition of Vibrato is unrivaled at delivering an emotional piece of music.

Apart from its classical roots, the violin has a history steeped in traditional folk music and its present-day form, has largely swept away all of the early cruder models. Traditionally, folk music was not written but passed around and down through the years by word of mouth. When the violin is used as a friend instrument, it is invariably referred to as a Fiddle which can lead to confusion. The only technical difference between Fiddle and Violin is the way that the bridge is set up, with the classical violin being rounder than the fiddle. Fiddle players like a flatter bridge which enable them to play double stops and shuffles, which involves playing two strings at once.

The modern violin while not changing that much over the years, has a wealth of history and with the development of the electric version, and new techniques of using tonnes by amplification; the instrument is alive and healthy with a new generation every bit as enthusiastic about learning to play it as their forefathers.

In fact, violins from Andrea Amati, dating back to 1564, are still in existence. In the 18th century, a man named Antonio Stradivari finally built a violin that became the basis from which all violin models today are formed.


How violin was used during the Baroque era

The violin has been a standout amongst the most critical of other instruments in traditional music, for many reasons. Its tone emerges above different instruments, making it proper for playing a song line. The violin was to a great degree light-footed and could execute quick and troublesome arrangements of notes for a decent player.


Folk music

In the same way as other different instruments of traditional music, the violin slides from remote predecessors, cruder in shape, that were utilized for folk music. Taking after a phase of serious advancement, to a great extent the violin had enhancedto an extent that it not just turned into an imperative instrument in workmanship music however demonstrated very engaging society artists too.

In numerous conventions of society music, the tunes were not composed but rather were retained by progressive generations of performers and went through in what is called the oral tradition.



The violin is normally alluded to as a fiddle in English at the point it is played as a people instrument,

In that styles, the scaffold is once in a while shaved down with the goal that it is marginally less bended. This diminishes the scope of movement required for rearrange bowings which interchange between sets of strings.

There is frequently just a solitary playing at a given setting, albeit twin fiddling was spoken to in a few styles. By difference, violins frequently play in segments – several people playing a similar instrument, normally in an ensemble symphony – since sound support was just conceivable by including more instruments.



This beautiful and graceful stringed instrument with its ancient beginnings is still being played today, from concert violinists stroking their bows across priceless Stradivarius to beginners plucking the strings of rented instruments while taking online violin lessons. Know all about violin today for you.


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For more questions, contact us at or 646-838-3990. Willan Academy of Music offers piano lessons, guitar lessons, and more in NYC, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Interesting Facts about Piano History: Baroque Era

Interesting Facts about Piano History: Baroque Era

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Interesting Facts about Piano History: Baroque Era


The Baroque Era lasted from 1600 to 1750. It was a period of tremendous growth in music and the use of musical instruments. Understanding the significance of this era is impossible without knowing what preceded it. In other words, you have to appreciate the state of music during the Renaissance period before you can truly appreciate piano history in this Era.


The Renaissance lasted from the 1400s to 1600. It succeeded the Medieval Era. During the Renaissance era, music was mostly vocal. However, the use of certain instruments such as the keyboard, violin, and the guitar became commonplace. These instruments presented composers and musicians with new exploration ideas. Influences during this period included the artistic heritage of ancient Greece, the Protestant Reformation, and literary materials that survived the fall of Rome.


The Precursor to Pianos

The late medieval era, the Renaissance, the Baroque period, and the classical era saw the use of a keyboard-like stringed instrument known as the clavichord. Although it was invented in the fourteenth century, its popularity in Europe rose in the 16th to 18th century. It was especially popular among German-speaking lands, in the Iberian Peninsula and the Scandinavia. The use of clavichord declined sharply in the 1850’s, but in the 1890’s, Arnold Dolmetsch revived its construction while Violet Gordon Woodhouse assisted in popularizing its use. Today, the use of clavichord is limited to Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical music enthusiasts.


The Harpsichord

The harpsichord was a most commonly used instrument during the Baroque period. Musicians used it as a choral accompaniment and for basso continuo. The instrument was mostly used in small chamber music ensembles, opera orchestra, and Baroque orchestra. Moreover, the harpsichord was used as a solo instrument to play virtuoso concertos in the same era.


Harpsichords are string instruments. Some of them use one string per note while the more elaborate ones can use two or more strings for each note. Harpsichords that have more strings are better compared to one-string-per-note harps since you can easily vary their tone and volume. These benefits are enhanced by including different choirs of strings with varying tonal qualities.


The Fortepiano

The fortepiano is a stringed instrument just like the harpsichord, but it has strings that are thin and it has leather-covered hammers unlike the latter. This instrument is much lighter than the modern piano and is usually very responsive. During its invention, the fortepiano had a range of four octaves, but they increased as the instrument was improved. Mozart used a piano with five octaves but this still, gradually advanced to six and by the nineteenth century, it had reached seven & a half octaves.


Early fortepianos are similar to some modern day pianos i.e. the ones that have pedals. The only difference is that these were not always pedals but sometimes they could be knee levers. These pianos gave the player the freedom to determine the volume of each note. Each fortepiano register also produced a different tone quality such as bass slightly buzzed, high treble ‘tinkling,’ and more rounded mid-range. These variations made them differ from the modern day pianos, which produce more uniform sound through their range.


Cristofori’s fortepianos are the most admired among all fortepiano as they are more subtle and effective than others are. He used double strings in his instruments, which made the hammer strike more than one string while playing the instrument. His fortepianos were also the first to have a soft pedal incorporated, and it is speculated the modern pedal could have arisen from this invention.


Uses of the Fortepiano during the Baroque Era

Cristofori’s version of the piano was meant to solve the problems of the harpsichord and the clavichord. Instead of striking or plucking strings with tangents and quails, his piano used hammers to strike the strings and fall back immediately after striking. The idea was a genius one since it allowed a player to play several notes repeatedly and produce varying tones.


Notable Piano Makers during Baroque Era

Bartolommeo Cristofori, a musical instrument maker from Italy, is credited as being the inventor of the piano. At age 33, Ferdinando de Medici recruited Cristofori. He was to work as an inventor and restoration of valuable harpsichords. Even after the Prince’s death, Cristofori continued working for the Medicis. Although it is not known how many pianos he made throughout his lifetime, three of his pianos survive to date.


In German-speaking nations, fortepianos were introduced by Gottfried Silbermann in 1730s. He used Cristofori’s designs, and he got royal support from Fredrick the Great. Johann Andres Stein was another notable builder during Silbermann’s era. Silbermann was his teacher. His pianos however, had a backward hammer, and the striking end was closer to the hammer.


Notable Piano Players of Baroque Music


Francois Couperin

He was a French-born in a musically talented Couperin family and lived between November 1668 and September 1773. He was commonly known as ‘Couperin the Great’ to distinguish him from his other family members. Among his many works, he introduced the works of Italian composer Corelli, in the French form. In this work, he married the Italian and French styles of music and he called it ‘Styles Reunited.’

Couperin also wrote four volumes of harpsichord music, which contained 230 individual pieces. The publication of these volumes took place in 1713, 1717, 1722, and 1730. Unlike other pieces, which were divided into suites, Couperin’s pieces were grouped into orders, which were his personal form of suites and contained descriptive and traditional pieces.


Domenico Scarlatti

He was an Italian composer, and he spent most of his time in the service of Spanish and Portuguese royal families. He got his first music education from his father who was a composer and a teacher. He also received training from other music teachers who had a lot of influence in Scarlatti’s music style. These included Francesco Gasparini, Gaetano Greco, and Bernardo Pasquini.

Although only a few of Scarlatti’s collections were published during his lifetime, he oversaw the publishing of the collection ‘Exercises’ and it was well received throughout Europe. Many of his unpublished sonatas have appeared in print irregularly, two and a half centuries later.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann was a Baroque era composer from Germany. He had strong abilities with the organ, and through his skills in counterpoint, rhythm adaptation, and harmonic motivic organization and textures from abroad, he managed to create German style. During his lifetime, Bach received a lot of public recognition. He is remembered as an influential composer of his time.


George F. Handel

He was born in 1685. He is mostly remembered for his operas, anthems, organ concertos, and oratorios, all of which he performed in London. He is revered as a distinguished composer of this era. He composed over forty operas in a period of thirty years, and with the re-emergence of baroque music in the 1960’s, Handel’s music became popular again.



Cristofori Bartolommeo gave the piano a new purpose when he modified the harpsichord. With the new design, many other inventors worked on his model, and although their models were still accepted, none of them beat Cristofori’s model. Additionally, the fortepiano is significant in piano history because it gave musicians the additional freedom they required to explore different notes and harmonies. Conclusively, one can say that baroque era piano changed the history of music composition.


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For more questions, contact us at or 646-838-3990. Willan Academy of Music offers violin lessons, guitar lessons, and more in NYC, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Interesting Facts about Singing History: The Renaissance Period

Interesting Facts about Singing History: The Renaissance Period

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Interesting Facts about Singing History: The Renaissance Period


The motet was the most preeminent polyphonic forms of music during the Renaissance period. However, this style of vocal composition did not arise during the 1400s to 1600s. It started in medieval times. More specifically, it arose in the thirteenth century. In this century, a theorist called Johannes de Grocheo explained that commoners could not enjoy motet since they could not understand its subtlety. Therefore, those who appreciated these vocal compositions were mostly elite members of society.


The Unification of Musical Language during the Renaissance Period

Unlike the motet of the medieval period, Renaissance music was more vocal and instrumental. In fact, songs had an increased number of independent lines playing simultaneously than they previously had. These advancements facilitated the rise in the quality and quantity of vocal compositions. Such changes were possible because of a unified musical language spurred by socioeconomic changes in Europe. These changes included the rise of humanistic thoughts, the rise of a bourgeois class, and commercial growth.


Vocal Compositions and the Use of Instruments during Renaissance Period

The human voice was the primary tool used in the production of music during medieval times. Instruments were merely accompaniments that colored the human voice. However, things started changing during the Renaissance Period. Instruments such as flute, violins, flutes, and keyboards acquired a new status. Significant modifications of these instruments also took place. It is also important to note that the number of composers and their professionalism increased significantly during this period. It did so because of modified instruments and advanced technologies such as the invention of the printing press in the 1400s.


The Emergence of the Madrigal

The madrigal was a vocal composition where the number of voices varied from two to about eight. In most cases, a madrigal had three to six voices. It was different from strophic songs at the time. These songs had repetitive choruses, but the madrigal was non-repetitive. To put it differently, its arrangement was linear and uninterrupted by dialogue. Madrigals emerged in Italy in the 1520s. The focus of these pieces was to express emotion in each line of a famous poem. It is important to note that the madrigal was the most distinct type of secular music during the Renaissance period. It ushered in a new era in singing history where secular compositions achieved prominence and became acceptable in society.

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For more questions, contact us at or 646-838-3990. Willan Academy of Music offers violin lessons, guitar lessons, and more in NYC, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Renaissance Guitar History and its Contribution to the Music Industry

Renaissance Guitar History and its Contribution to the Music Industry

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Renaissance Guitar History and its Contribution to the Music Industry


The vihuela was an early form of a guitar. It had five to six doubled strings made of gut. This early instrument first emerged in Spain, Italy, and Portugal. These instruments were made of thin flat slabs or wooden pieces, which were curved differentiating them from earlier stringed instruments made from wood blocks. First generation vihuelas looked more like the modern guitar but they had a sharp cut on the waist making them look like violins.


Over the years, the vihuela has been improvised with the second generation starting around 1490 and it had eight smoother curves. Other notable features of the early vihuela included very long necks with varying shapes, top decoration, and varying placement of sound holes, pierced rosettes, and ports. They also used over two peg styles.



Contribution of Renaissance Guitars to the Music Industry

Although literature mentions the first guitar in the 13th century, the first version of the modern guitar appeared during the Renaissance. This guitar looked more like the Spanish vihuela and it had four paired strings. The vihuela remained common in Italy and Spain for the better part of the 16th century.



The Emergence of the Five-Course Guitar

The vihuela had a great impact on the designing and tuning of five-course guitars that appeared in the mid-16th century. The five-course guitars not only replaced the four-course guitars but also set the modern standard guitar tuning of A, D, G, B, and E. Consequently, the number of the frets increased from eight to ten, and finally twelve. In Italy, the sixth-course guitar became quite popular and was made by altering the nut and the bridge to fit another tune peg hole for the sixth string.



Notable Guitarists during the Renaissance Period

Luis de Milán is an important figure in guitar history. He was a Spanish Renaissance vihuelist and composer. He was the first musician in history to publish vihuela music for the vihuela de mano. He was also one of the first musicians to specify verbal tempo indications in his music. The music of Luis Milan is popular with performers on the present-day classical guitar.


Juan Bermudo was a renowned mathematician, composer, and music theorist who focused his attention on the vihuela. His first published work was a dedication to King John III of Portugal, which was done in 1549. In his writing on vihuela, “Perfecting the perfect instrument,” published in 1555, he mentions that his work was checked and approved by Cristobal de Morales, Royal Chapel of Granada, and Bernardino de Figueroa.


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For more questions, contact us at or 646-838-3990. Willan Academy of Music offers piano lessons, singing lessons, and more in NYC, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Interesting Facts on Violin History: The Renaissance Period

Interesting Facts on Violin History: The Renaissance Period

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Interesting Facts on Violin History: The Renaissance Period


Paintings by Gaudenzio Ferrari show that early violins had only 3 strings. According to Ferrari’s paintings, the first violins had a bulging front and back plates and f-holes with side pegs, which hold the strings. Compared to the modern instrument, the early violins had more exaggerated looks and the three strings. Although the makers of these first instruments are unknown, it is strongly believed they were made in Italy where they gained popularity and especially among street musicians and nobles of the 16 century. Here are some interesting facts on violin history.

Violins Made By Early Violin Makers Are Worth Millions

As the popularity of the violin increased, so did the makers of the instrument. The first violin is believed to have been made by the Amati family around 1500. The production of violins reached its peak in the 16th century with the most notable makers being the Stradivari family and Guarneri. The two violinmakers learned this type of artisanship from the Amati family. Their instruments are considered the best-made violins up to date and are highly sort by violinists from around the world. These instruments also cost a fortune, with “the Hammer” by Stradivari sold $3.6 million in 2006.


The Role of the Violin during the Renaissance Period

Musicians used the violin as a dance & vocal accompaniment. By the 17th century, musicians started incorporating the instrument to instrumental ensembles where it always stood out above other instruments making it the most appropriate for playing melody lines. Since the 17th century, experienced violinists have always amazed their audience with the instruments’ virtuosity.

The Violin and Its Legacy

The violin is considered more of an expressive instrument that is close to the human voice. Known violinists of all time have included this instrument in violin concertos and violin sonata repertories. The violin use was popular in the early days of dance orchestras having 2 to 3 violins while the high-class orchestras would have at least 6-7 violins.


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For more questions, contact us at or 646-838-3990. Willan Academy of Music offers piano lessons, guitar lessons, and more in NYC, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.